Sunday, February 02, 2014

Photo and iPod log: January 27, 2014.

I've been doing these for a while: see here for my most recent example. What follows is a log I made of what I was listening to and seeing this past Monday on my last walk of my (fortunately) brief period of unemployment. On previous walks that I've logged, I've taken one photo for each piece of music I heard, but I would strive to find something scenic, or at least something that seemed an interesting composition, while the piece was playing. This time, I decided to stick to a strict rule. Whenever a new song started, I would snap a photo. I might allow a very quick look around, especially if I knew something interesting was off to a side. Usually, though, I just shot whatever was in front of me. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy the photos and the music, to which I've provided links wherever available. As before, with a few exceptions I've let the photos speak for themselves.
Traffic, "John Barleycorn Must Die": a venture by this group into the Fairport Convention/Steeleye Span territory of English folk rock, from the album of the same name. What makes this cut for me is the late Chris Wood's flute. Live performance video here.
Louis Moreau Gottschalk, "Le Bananiere, Opus 5 (Chanson Negre)"; Amiram Rigai, piano: Gottschalk, born in New Orleans in 1829, the son of a Jewish father and a Creole mother, was perhaps the first well known American composer of what we now put under the rubric of "classical" music, although his music, like that of his contemporary Stephen Foster, was considered "pop" in its time. Hear it, as performed by Rollin Wilber, here. (Where there is no suitable video or audio clip by the same artist as on my recording, I'll link to the best performance by another artist I can find.)
The Clash, "Clampdown": from the great album London Calling. Hear it here.
Big Joe Turner, "Honey Hush": Big Joe was one of the artists on the cusp of the transition from jump blues to rhythm 'n' blues and rock 'n' roll. Hear "Honey Hush" here. Raise your hand if you know the origin of "Hi Yo Silver!" If you don't, you're probably younger than me, and there's always Google.
Diana Ross & the Supremes, "Love is Here and Now You're Gone": in 1967 they were simply "The Supremes," Diana, Flo, and Mary. Unlike other Motown acts, they were more popular with white suburban teens than with African American audiences. Still, they made great music. Live performance video here.
The Nightcrawlers, "Little Black Egg": Garage rock from Florida, which I first heard in a friend's dorm room at the University of South Florida. There's a theory that this is about the result of an inter-racial relationship, which would have been controversial in 1966, especially below the Smith & Wesson Line. Whatever it means, it got under my skin, and stays there. Hear it here.
The Kingston Trio, "Tanga Tika and Toreau": the Trio recorded several Polynesian songs, reflecting Bob Shane's having grown up on the Big Island of Hawaii and Dave Guard's having gone to prep school in Honolulu. Hear it here.
A fierce looking dragon guards the entrance to the Eagle Warehouse Building (Frank Freeman, 1894; now apartments). As I reached this spot I heard Renee Rosnes on piano playing "Blues Connotation." I first heard Rosnes at Bradley's, a great--and unfortunately long gone, like its owner, Bradley Cunningham--jazz bistro on University Place between 10th and 11th streets, just a block from where I last lived in the Village before moving to Brooklyn. This version of an Ornette Coleman composition is from Renee's album Art & Soul, on which she's accompanied by Scott Colley on bass and Billy Drummond on drums. Hear a sample here.
Dire Straits, "Walk of Life": "Here comes Johnny...." Live performance video here.
Bob Dylan, "Gospel Plow": this was on an earlier log. As I wrote there: "from his first, eponymous album, a frenetic blues and one of his earlier original compositions." Hear it here.
Danny Kalb, "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out": Broooklyn born Danny Kalb was lead guitarist for The Blues Project, one of my favorite bands from the 1960s. Before switching to electric guitar he was active in the Greenwich Village acoustic folk music scene, for a time as a member of Dave Van Ronk's group The Ragtime Jug Stompers--Van Ronk is the inspiration for the title character in the Coen Brothers' movie Inside Llewen Davis, which I saw yesterday afternoon and recommend enthusiastically. He recorded this instrumental version of a classic blues song sometime in the early 1960s, and it was released on a Prestige Records anthology album, The Folk Singers, and much later included in Starbucks' anthology CD Town and Country Blues. Play a sample here.
While listening to "Nobody Knows You While You're Down and Out," I made a stop at an ATM, feeling the irony. As I left the bank, on came Jefferson Starship's "Be Young You." From the 1974 album Dragon Fly, this song (the title of which is a pun on Byong Yu, the name of the lyricist of "Ride the Tiger," the opening track of the album) seems obviously inspired by the first Middle East oil crisis. Hear it here.
Jimmy Cliff, "You Can Get It If You Really Want": from the great The Harder They Come soundtrack. One of my go-to songs when I'm feeling down. Hear it here.
Yes, my walk included a stop in our neighborhood supermarket, and Ben E. King's "Spanish Harlem," a fine piece of R&B by Jerry Leiber and Phil Spector from 1960, started while I was shopping. Hear it here.
Approaching home, I saw the Dutch stepped gables (thank you, Francis Morrone) of the Heights Casino (Boring & Tilton, 1905), as I listened to The Lion, "I Am Going to Buy a Bungalow," a classic Calypso. "That is why I must have a pretty Jane, but she must be Dorothy by name...." Why Dorothy? This is a song about aspiring to middle class trappings, and I guess Dorothy was considered a middle class name in late 1930s Trinidad. Hear it here..